Image Credit: Bravo

Who's Right: Danielle Or Jennifer? Let's Break Down The Facts Of Charity

Everyone, Bravo included, has agreed season 14 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey is kinda sorta flopping. Why else would RHONJ be skipping a reunion? But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few entertaining moments from this beyond-dysfunctional family that are compelling us against our better judgement to keep tuning in. Margaret shutting down whatever invasive body snatcher has taken over Jackie Goldschneider’s consciousness with a simple screenshot, for example? (Is that proof of an “arsenal” or proof she’s able to use the text search function on iPhone?) About halfway through the most divisive season yet (a bold statement considering there was a literal brawl at Joe and Melissa’s son’s christening), The Jersey girls have captured our attention yet again with Danielle Cabral and Jennifer Aydin’s wild altercation that started over a charity. And while we awbviuslee don’t condone violence (why swing fists when you can sling disses) we’re just as obsessed with figuring this thing out as the rest of the internet. So, I did a little digging and naturally found the definitive answer over who was right re: whether or not it’s normal for a charity host to “pay themselves back.” Whichever team you’re on, you’re gonna want to read this explanation of Jen and Danielle’s RHONJ charity fight so you can at least have your facts straight for the group chat.

Why were Danielle Cabral and Jen Aydin fighting in the first place?

@bravotv Danielle’s sharing her side of the charity event situation. Don’t miss all-new episodes of #RHONJ on SUNDAYS! #RealHousewivesOfNewJersey #JenniferAydin #DanielleCabral ♬ Danielles Charity Event Explanation from RHONJ – Bravo

It seemed Jen had a few bones to pick with Danielle about a charity event Danielle threw on February 25th. Danielle hosted an event called Party Like A Housewife where guests bought a ticket to eat, drink, and participate in other fundraising opportunities to raise money for Sunrise Day Camp Staten Island (a free camp for children with cancer and their siblings). Only in the state of New Jersey can a conversation about helping kids with cancer lead to throwing hands.

Jen first brought her friend Lena on camera early in season 14 to dog Danielle for not letting Lena hang in the VIP section after blowing Danielle’s hair out for the event. Jen said Danielle’s elitist attitude of “bringing other people down” in order to find her own success rubbed Jen the wrong way. When this didn’t really gain a ton of traction, Jen brought up a far more damning claim. Jen said Danielle had shadily pocketed profits raised for the kids. When Danielle explained she only used some of the proceeds to pay back expenses like vendors and decor, Jen doubled down that the appropriate thing to do is cover all event expenses out of Danielle’s own pocket. That’s what Jen claims she does, anyway (which is hard to disprove given she hasn’t thrown a single philanthropic event of note during her five years on RHONJ).

Danielle naturally got all “I start charities Megan!“, Jen shoved Danielle HARD, and Danielle retaliated by making a plastic cup a temporary accessory on the side of Jen’s face. Some people think Danielle was in Jen’s face first (come on, this is The Real Housewives, y’all) and others agree that once you put your hands on someone you better be prepared for however they respond to violence. But let’s go back to the beginning: who was right about how charities pay for expenses?

Did Danielle do something wrong by paying her charity event’s expenses with the proceeds?

RHONJ ladies at a charity event Danielle, Jen, Teresa, Dolores
Image Credit: Getty Images

According to literally every reliable source on the internet, not at all. Let’s start with good ol’ Reddit. An innocent Redditor (who TBH could be Jennifer Aydin trolling, she’s got hella downtime when Bill’s in surgery) asked “If you run a charity event in which you pledge 100% of the proceeds to a specific cause, but wind up using a small fraction of that amount (<5%) on overhead costs related to the event, have you committed a crime?” in the “legaladviceofftopic” sub. Pretty much every reply concurred that paying expenses from the net proceeds is not only legal but exactly how throwing charity events works. One very detailed not-a-lawyer explained that charities and non-profit organizations are worried about losing non-exempt status or crossing legal boundaries when leaders take too large of a profit as their own salary (see: The Church of Scientology). Someone a little less patient commented “All charities have operating costs and use the funds they raise to pay for those operating costs. How else do you think the overhead is paid for? Or am I missing a key piece of this question?”

Don’t trust Reddit to solve all of your problems like me? Weird of you, but okay. Super Fast CPA (AKA an accounting for dummies website) explains that “Fundraising expenses, also known as fundraising costs, refer to the costs incurred by a non-profit organization in the process of seeking and collecting funds from donors. These costs can include a wide range of activities, from running campaigns to hosting events.” The expert site goes on to write that a non-profit’s charitable efficiency is based on how many cents it spends for every dollar it raises, and uses an imaginary charity to demonstrate that 9 cents per dollar is considered “a good fundraising ratio.” While we don’t have Danielle’s receipts, it’s clear that there is an industry expectation that you need to spend money to make money.

Need even more proof? Sure, why not! A well-known national accounting firm’s “Accounting for Fundraising Events” guide describes a scenario just like Danielle’s (where an independent entity is raising money for a larger charity). Marcum LLP informs charitable queens and kings that “In some instances, an independent organization will hold a fundraising event to benefit another organization. The net amount transferred to the recipient organization is recorded as a contribution. However, if the independent organization deducts a fundraising fee or other compensation before remitting the net proceeds, then the fee should be recorded as a fundraising expense.” The key word here is NET, meaning there’s an expectation for charities to receive gross profits minus necessary expenses.

The Real Housewives of Miami’s Lea Black Weighs In

RHOM star Lea Black Annual Charity event
Image Credit: Getty Images

For further clarification, we had to ask OG RHOM alum and queen of charities, Leah Black. When asked if a charity’s expenses should come from the host’s personal funds or with proceeds from the event, Leah told Betches that “it can be either. However, if guests are paying from donations, the host needs to disclose it.”

So, there you have it! When it comes to how to run a charity, taking a fee to compensate for fundraising costs is considered normal across the board, as long as you spend efficiently and properly notify those donating. Sure seems like Jennifer Aydin was absolutely wrong on this one. Does that mean that she will listen to anyone who tries to explain the facts to her? No, of course not, it’s Jersey!!






Marissa Dow
Marissa Dow
MARISSA is a trending news writer at Betches. She's more than just another pop-culture-addicted-east-coaster-turned-LA-transplant...she's also an upcoming television writer and aspiring Real Housewife (whichever comes first). Live, laugh, balegdah.